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Apple-approved iTether iPhone app bypasses carrier tethering plans

post #1 of 87
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A new iOS application that allows users to tether their Mac or PC to an iPhone 3G data connection without paying a carrier for the ability was pulled from the iPhone App Store on Tuesday [updated].

As of Tuesday morning, iTether was still available on the App Store for $14.99. But later in the day, the application was pulled and can no longer be downloaded. It was a one-time charge, compared to the recurring $20 tethering plan offered to iPhone users by AT&T.

AT&T has previously cracked down on unauthorized tethering by iPhone users, an ability that can be accomplished by "jailbreaking" the handset to run unauthorized code. Those users have been warned by the carrier that they will be automatically charged for a tethering plan due to their high data usage.

But unlike previous jailbreak solutions, the iTether offering was approved by Apple for sale in its controlled App Store environment. Its removal confirms the approval was an error.

User interest in the iTether software for iPhone was so popular that the developer's official website has been brought down by traffic. That's a problem for those who buy iTether, as a Mac or PC client is required for the iPhone's 3G data connection to be accessed on a separate machine.



For comparison, those who buy official carrier-sanctioned tethering on their iPhone use the Personal Hotspot feature, which allows a 3G data connection to be shared with other devices over Wi-Fi. Personal Hotspot does not require any special software to be installed on a separate device.

The Personal Hotspot feature was launched earlier this year with the debut of the Verizon iPhone, and later came to GSM iPhones with the launch of the iOS 4.3 software update.
post #2 of 87
Hopefully this opens the door for cheaper, competing apps. $15 and no support for Bluetooth/WiFi = ripoff.

Also, according to Mac Rumors:

Quote:
Update 2: Tether claims "We were very clear with Apple what our app did. They asked us a bunch of questions and then approved us." So it may not be getting pulled.

http://www.macrumors.com/2011/11/29/...-one-time-fee/
post #3 of 87
Now that most carriers have implemented a data cap of around 2GB, why should they care? The monthly charge is for 2GB and customers should be able to tether and use their data on their laptops instead of their phones.
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post #4 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloggerblog View Post

Now that most carriers have implemented a data cap of around 2GB, why should they care? The monthly charge is for 2GB and customers should be able to tether and use their data on their laptops instead of their phones.

Bingo!
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post #5 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloggerblog View Post

Now that most carriers have implemented a data cap of around 2GB, why should they care? The monthly charge is for 2GB and customers should be able to tether and use their data on their laptops instead of their phones.

...but we still pay $20 / month for an unlimited text messaging plan [$30/month for family], right? how much data is there in 10,000 text messages? one meg? maybe two?
post #6 of 87
I'll be surprised if this gets pulled. I'm sure this was much discussed at 1 Infinite Loop before being approved.
post #7 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by malax View Post

I'll be surprised if this gets pulled. I'm sure this was much discussed at 1 Infinite Loop before being approved.

It'll be pulled before the day is out.
post #8 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by malax View Post

I'll be surprised if this gets pulled. I'm sure this was much discussed at 1 Infinite Loop before being approved.

Sort of akin to iMessage. Apple is bending the pricing curve of the carriers. With limited data caps there is simply no reason not to allow tethering for free. Apple holds all the bargaining chips with carriers so is tired of losing sales to android because of the lack of tethering for free.
post #9 of 87
I still think is is outrageous that I should get charged for data I have already bought. I get a fixed allowance of 500MB on my phone, why should they care if I use it through my iPad?
post #10 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by cameronj View Post

Sort of akin to iMessage. Apple is bending the pricing curve of the carriers. With limited data caps there is simply no reason not to allow tethering for free. Apple holds all the bargaining chips with carriers so is tired of losing sales to android because of the lack of tethering for free.

So, clearly, they've chosen to bend the carriers to their will by approving a crappy and laughably unreliable app produced by a highly-questionable third party. I guess flipping the bit that'd enable the built-in wi-fi tethering wouldn't have done the job, huh?

Turns out, humans approve and reject apps for the app store. They come and go as they change jobs or get promoted. Sometimes, the new ones make huge mistakes. This is one such occasion.
post #11 of 87
The problem with this is the large number of unlimited data plans such as those who have had the iPhone since day one or early 3G days on AT&T- we don't get tethering.

They include tethering for free if you buy the (I think 4gb?) option- but it's. $45/month! My company pays my phone, but I'm not gonna spend more a month for less data that doesn't future proof me. So- I don't get tethering. But an option like this would be INCREDIBLE for the unlimited guys- that's why I think it won't happen for long at all.

Crap... If I wanted to be real cheap I could cancel my Internet to my house and still have laptop and Mac connection via tethering.

I'll wait a month and buy it if it's around still . Any word if it works with a wifi only iPad?

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post #12 of 87
Gladly I live in the UK and get 2000 minutes, 5000 texts, truly unlimited data (with tethering included) for £35 a month (around $55-$60), bargain!!!
post #13 of 87
I travel with my iPad, and am forced to pay $20/month to Hotspot the iPad.

Wish that there was a tether plan that would allow me to tether my iPad to my iPhone.
post #14 of 87
1) I think we all know this will get pulled as soon as it gets a lot of interest online.
2) As crappy as cabled tethering is, it would have been nice over T-day when my sister-in-laws DSL was out.
3) There are still a lot of people that have kept their unlimited data plans.
post #15 of 87
Has anyone actually gotten the apps and tested whether it bypasses the carrier etc.

Because if you look at the official language it actually suggests that it does not. That it is just providing a way to create a tethering connection to use your approved plan etc. Which could be why Apple allowed it

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post #16 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by brd841 View Post

Handylight Does the same for less ($9.99) and is still in the store!

Fake app. It's not the same as the one that was removed
post #17 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Brother 84 View Post

I still think is is outrageous that I should get charged for data I have already bought. I get a fixed allowance of 500MB on my phone, why should they care if I use it through my iPad?

Totally agree. I am grandfathered into the unlimited plan (for now). But even at 2GB--my new limit---why should they care how I use it? I actually would like to see some legal action here. They are basically charging twice for the same product.
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post #18 of 87
I wanna buy this but don't want it to be pulled. Decisions
post #19 of 87
why would I want to tether my mac to my at&t iPhone, I barely have any signal ever!
post #20 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post

Totally agree. I am grandfathered into the unlimited plan (for now). But even at 2GB--my new limit---why should they care how I use it? I actually would like to see some legal action here. They are basically charging twice for the same product.

If you purchase a tethering plan thru a carrier you have a different bucket of data from what you are using for your phone. They are NOT charging twice for the same product.
post #21 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloggerblog View Post

Now that most carriers have implemented a data cap of around 2GB, why should they care? The monthly charge is for 2GB and customers should be able to tether and use their data on their laptops instead of their phones.

I agree with this. If you are going to cap the data plans I can see them making more money on getting people to tether without realizing how much data is being consumed.


Quote:
Originally Posted by desarc View Post

...but we still pay $20 / month for an unlimited text messaging plan [$30/month for family], right? how much data is there in 10,000 text messages? one meg? maybe two?

I don't understand why this hasn't been investigated. People complain when gas goes up a penny, but not about SMS charges or the fact they have gone up when technology tends to get cheaper.

I'd say an email header is about 100 lengthy SMS messages. The carriers do maintain servers for SMS/MMS but that seriously isn't 20¢/30¢ a transmission.

SInce most people I chat with are on iOS 5.0 I have completely turned off SMS from being sent or received. AT&T has moved from either a per usage fee or $20/month for unlimited.

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post #22 of 87
What I really want is a way to tether my iPad to my iPhone. If it can't do that, it's not very useful for me.
post #23 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by StLBluesFan View Post

If you purchase a tethering plan thru a carrier you have a different bucket of data from what you are using for your phone. Thry are NOT charging twice for the same product.

Say I'm forced to buy a 200MB plan for my phone. I'm then forced to buy another 200MB plan to use that phone's data with any other device when the device itself is physically capable of using the already forced data.

How is that not 'charging twice for the same product'?
post #24 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andysol View Post

The problem with this is the large number of unlimited data plans such as those who have had the iPhone since day one or early 3G days on AT&T- we don't get tethering.

They include tethering for free if you buy the (I think 4gb?) option- but it's. $45/month! My company pays my phone, but I'm not gonna spend more a month for less data that doesn't future proof me. So- I don't get tethering. But an option like this would be INCREDIBLE for the unlimited guys- that's why I think it won't happen for long at all.

Crap... If I wanted to be real cheap I could cancel my Internet to my house and still have laptop and Mac connection via tethering.

I'll wait a month and buy it if it's around still . Any word if it works with a wifi only iPad?

Also on the unlimited AT&T plan. And why would they have a big issue with this? They already throttle connections for the top 5% of users. As long as you don't drastically alter your usage patterns when tethering, it shouldn't be an issue.
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post #25 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by jak1502 View Post

Gladly I live in the UK and get 2000 minutes, 5000 texts, truly unlimited data (with tethering included) for £35 a month (around $55-$60), bargain!!!

Indeed, Three's One Plan really is great.

My brother got this deal for iPhone 4S 32GB and thanks to cashback and the sale of his iPhone 3G is only paying £842 ($1315) over 2 years and getting plenty of minutes and texts, all the data he could ever need and no need for a 3G iPad with an expensive, limited data plan (got WiFi only). On top of that he got a month of his plan free and a free case because the phone arrived one day late... Awesome deal overall!

Sorry I know this is off topic but I was shocked at how good it is when he told me about it.
post #26 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post

Totally agree. I am grandfathered into the unlimited plan (for now). But even at 2GB--my new limit---why should they care how I use it? I actually would like to see some legal action here. They are basically charging twice for the same product.

I switched to the 2GB plan, from unlimited, since it didn't make sense to pay $5/month more ($10 for two iPhones) for the same thing. I do agree that I am buying 2GB of data and I should use it however I want.
post #27 of 87
I'm disappointed that apps are approved and then pulled. Instead of letting someone into the walled garden and then kicking them out, they should have vetted the apps more thoroughly at the gate. Likewise, when everyone dumped on Google for the gmail app fiasco, Apple should have shouldered some of the blame.
post #28 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by jak1502 View Post

Gladly I live in the UK and get 2000 minutes, 5000 texts, truly unlimited data (with tethering included) for £35 a month (around $55-$60), bargain!!!

Is that the all you can eat data bundle with 3? Its a shame their service is utter shite in Scotland otherwise I would have gone with them on my last upgrade.
post #29 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by StLBluesFan View Post

If you purchase a tethering plan thru a carrier you have a different bucket of data from what you are using for your phone. They are NOT charging twice for the same product.

The last time I talked to AT&T, I was told if I want to Tether with my iPhone I would lose my unlimited data plan, which to me is OK because I hardly use over 1GB a month, but for others that would sück.
post #30 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by hankx32 View Post

why would I want to tether my mac to my at&t iPhone, I barely have any signal ever!

Why would you not return a phone that doesn't meet your needs?
post #31 of 87
Well, if Apple is allowing tethering apps into the app store why don't they enable the mobile hotspot feature on all iPhones?!
post #32 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by brd841 View Post

deleted Does the same for less ($9.99) and is still in the store!

That app is a scam. It does not tether. It is just similarly named to an app that used to tether. Brd841 is intentionally posting several scam links today.

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post #33 of 87
I don't understand what this app does that I'm not already getting by using Personal Hotspot for free.
post #34 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andysol View Post

The problem with this is the large number of unlimited data plans such as those who have had the iPhone since day one or early 3G days on AT&T- we don't get tethering.

They include tethering for free if you buy the (I think 4gb?) option- but it's. $45/month! My company pays my phone, but I'm not gonna spend more a month for less data that doesn't future proof me. So- I don't get tethering. But an option like this would be INCREDIBLE for the unlimited guys- that's why I think it won't happen for long at all.

Crap... If I wanted to be real cheap I could cancel my Internet to my house and still have laptop and Mac connection via tethering.

I'll wait a month and buy it if it's around still . Any word if it works with a wifi only iPad?

If you usb tether to a mac and then set up airport sharing via wifi. That should handle it for the iPad. If you have a 3g iPad you don't need it.
post #35 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by StLBluesFan View Post

If you purchase a tethering plan thru a carrier you have a different bucket of data from what you are using for your phone. They are NOT charging twice for the same product.

No I accept that, but the issue is that AT&T forces an additional 2GB and $20 on you even if you don't need it. AT&T Charges $10 per 1GB for overage, so why not allow tethering for free and if I need additional data charge the $10 per GB.

The time when i would use tethering is when I am on the road with my family and I want to share my data with them for their wifi i-devices. As it stands I refuse to pay the extra and so my family does not get online and AT&T does not get ANY money from me. If I were to tether for free, then they may get extra on overages and I would be happy to accept that. I'm willing to pay for the data I use; I'm not willing to be forced into extras I don't need.
post #36 of 87
Can it be used by the iPad (I mean, use the iPhone data plan to connect a wifi only iPad)?

That's the main reason I'd use this.

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post #37 of 87
Luckily, up here in the great white north, (Canada), my carrier (Fido) does not charge extra for tethering. When I bought my OG iPad back on day one from a US Apple store, I bought a wifi only version, with the express plan to be able to tether my iPhone with it some day. Luckily, when the personal hotspot feature in iOS became available, I was finally able to implement my plan.

It seems to me, as others have posted, with a pay-for tethering, you are being billed twice for the same data. Time to "occupy" AT&T!
post #38 of 87
As many have said here and indeed comments on the App's page at the App Store say... what is most needed is a way for an iPad wifi only model to use an iPhone's ability to act as a tether but it is a start.
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post #39 of 87
If this app gets pulled, AT&T can easily block tethered traffic routed through this app. There goes $14.99.
post #40 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by bsenka View Post

I don't understand what this app does that I'm not already getting by using Personal Hotspot for free.

It's not free in the U.S. We have to pay double for tethering.
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